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At A Loss for Words: Your Brain on Writer’s Block

He’d lost his magic. The impulse was spent. His talent was dead.” So opens “The Humbling,” one of the last novels by celebrated author Philip Roth. Although it tells the story of a washed up stage actor at the end of his career, these three short sentences sum up what every writer dreads the most — losing whatever it is that drives them to write every day, finding themselves unable to do the very thing that keeps them relevant. [ … ]

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Road Map of the Mind: Understanding Functional MRI

What if I told you it was possible to read, or even hear, your thoughts? Mind reading has been the stuff of science fiction for some time — something that 50 years ago would have been thought impossible. Even today, there’s quite a bit of doubt, but what can be seen is the activity across brain regions each time we produce thoughts. While sending messages through brain waves [ … ]

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Meet Your Brain’s GPS: The Hippocampus

Your brain probably doesn’t enjoy waking up early anymore than you do — a complicated task of taking in the first daylight and establishing your surroundings, just before you check your alarm clock and realize you’ve got about a half hour until your morning commute. From then on, there’s probably a hundred other decisions [ … ]

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Until Inspiration Comes Along: 5 Habits of Creative People

You may still be a writer in search of an agent, or an artist in search of a patron, but you’re determined to get that first creative endeavor finished some time this year and show the world what you’ve got. Here are just a few habits that creative people — many of them well-known — practice daily. Feel free to make them your own, and pretty soon you’ll be creating your masterwork. [ … ]

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On Writing and the Neuroscience of Language

I like to say that I never chose writing — it chose me. From the time I was 9 years old, I wrote stories profusely, almost never with the ending in mind, or even the basic roadmap of where I was going — just writing the scenes as they played out in my head moments ahead of time. As I grew older, not having an idea was hardly an excus [ … ]